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Online How to guide to lay laminate flooring and tools list

YOUR PROJECT CHECKLIST
MATERIALS

  • Laminate flooring
  • Underlay
    (dependant on project)
  • Damp-proof membrane
    (dependant on project)
  • Scotia or skirting
  • Threshold strips
  • Wood adhesive
  • Felt pads
TOOLS

  • Flooring spacers
  • Tape measure
  • Fine-toothed saw or Mitre saw
  • Combination square
  • Drill
  • Flat wood bit
SAFETY EQUIPMENT

  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Knee pads

flooring-heading.jpgAvoid breathing in dust when cutting wood by wearing an appropriate dust mask and wear safety glasses when using circular saws, jigsaws or mitre saws. Wear knee pads when kneeling for extended periods. Always use an RCD device when using power tools.1Choose the right
flooring and materials

1. DECIDE ON THE FLOORING TYPE & FINISH

As well as design and finish, the type of laminate flooring you choose should be influenced by where and how it will be installed. See below and Fig. 1 for a summary to help you decide. The technique to fit flooring with the Twin Clic system differs slightly to flooring with the Rapid Fit system. Rapid Fit is faster and easier to fit on your own, especially when you are covering a large area. Both are straightforward and do not need gluing or nailing (you should never glue or nail down a laminate floor).

 

Fig. 1 Choosing the right kind of flooring
SUITABILITY
FLOORING TYPE GUARANTEE HEAVY DOMESTIC Busy areas, living rooms & bedrooms LIGHT COMMERCIAL KITCHENS & BATHROOMS COMPATIBLE WITH UNDERFLOOR HEATING
Laminate 6 & 7mm 10-12 years
Laminate 8mm 15 years ✘*
Laminate 12mm 20 years
*Only tile effect 8mm laminate can be used in kitchens and bathrooms.

2. SELECT THE CORRECT UNDERLAY AND DAMP-PROOF MEMBRANE

Selecting the right underlay and damp-proof membrane (DPM) for the type of flooring and room setting is crucial. Never use carpet underlay under laminate flooring. Carpe and vinyl flooring will need to be lifted before you lay your floor. See “Prepare the subfloor” on the page opposite and Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 for a guide to suitable options. If in doubt seek further advice.

 

Fig. 2 Choosing the right damp-proof membrane and underlay
WHICH ROOM? TIMBER OR CONCRETE SUBFLOOR? SMOOTH OR UNEVEN SUBFLOOR?* APPROPRIATE UNDERLAY APPROPRIATE DAMP PROOF MEMBRANE
Kitchen or bathroom Timber Smooth XPS underlay Bitumen-backed building paper
Uneven XPS underlay Bitumen-backed building paper
Concrete Smooth High performance underlay Already built into high
performance underlay
Uneven XPS underlay 1000 gauge membrane
Other living area Timber Smooth Acoustic foam underlay
(or Natural fibreboard underlay,
but not with 6mm laminate)
Bitumen-backed building paper
(only required if risk of moisture)
Uneven XPS underlay (or Natural fibreboard
underlay, but not with 6mm laminate)
Bitumen-backed building paper
(only required if risk of moisture)
Concrete Smooth High performance underlay Already built into high
performance underlay
Uneven XPS underlay (or Natural fibreboard
underlay, but not with 6mm laminate)
1000 gauge membrane
*Subfloors need to be level and flat. Slight unevenness can be absorbed by thicker underlays.

 

Fig. 3 Different types of underlay
NAME BUILT IN DAMP PROOF MEMBRANE THICKER UNDERLAY TO ABSORB SMALL INDENTATIONS OR PROTRUSION CAN BE USED IN KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS
Acoustic Foam Underlay
Natural Fibreboard Underlay
High Performance Underlay
XPS Underlay

3. DECIDE ON THE TRIMS YOU NEED

Skirting or scotia

There are two options when it comes to the finish around your floor: skirting or scotia. Using skirting will give the most professional finish, but you will need to lift existing skirting before you install your flooring. You can either reinstall it afterwards or replace it with new skirting (skirting needs to be at least 15mm thick in order to cover expansion gaps). Using scotia is an easier option as it fits directly against existing skirting.

Threshold strips and pipe surrounds

At door openings you should use a matching threshold strip to cover expansion gaps and neatly finish the flooring. In situations where the floor is longer or wider than 8 metres, perhaps where a living room and dining room are open plan, you should leave an intermediate 10mm expansion gap at a suitable location, and cover it with a flat threshold strip. Fit pipe surrounds to neatly cover gaps around radiator pipes.

4. CALCULATE HOW MUCH FLOORING, UNDERLAY AND TRIM YOU NEED

Multiply the maximum length of the room by the maximum width to get the area in square metres and add 10% to allow for wastage. Always round up the number of packs you purchase. Don’t forget to take into account any chimney breasts when calculating the length of skirting or scotia you will need.

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2Prepare
the subfloor

All Wickes’ laminate flooring can be laid on any sub-floor, timber or concrete. The subfloor needs to be flat, dry and clean.

 

CONCRETE SUBFLOORS

Check existing screeds and concrete for moisture. This can be carried out using a moisture meter or alternatively sheets of polythene approximately 1m2 can be taped to the screed and a heavy weight placed on top for 24 hours. The screed will discolour or moisture will appear under the polythene if there is any present. If this happens you should stop and seek expert advice.

 

New concrete floors must be completely dry; do not lay flooring onto recently laid concrete. The thickness of the concrete will determine the drying time, but in all cases a minimum of two months is required for concrete to dry thoroughly. Allow around one day per mm for the first 50mm and then 1½ days for each additional millimetre of thickness thereafter.

 

The subfloor must be flat. If it has hollows deeper than 2mm over a 1m length, level it first using Wickes Floor Levelling Compound. Small indentations or protrusions of up to 3mm can be covered adequately by Fibreboard or XPS underlay in some cases (see Fig. 2).

 

Finally, lay a damp proof membrane (DPM) sheet (see Fig. 2 for a guide as to which one). Lay the membrane with taped 200mm overlaps and run it up the perimeter wall behind any skirting.

TIMBER SUBFLOORS

Ensure the subfloor is flat – no more thana 2mm difference over a 1m length. All floorboards should be firmly screwed down and all nails punched below the surface. Small indentations or protrusions of up to 3mm can be covered adequately by Fibreboard or XPS underlay in some cases (see Fig. 2)

 

The subfloor should also be dry. The presence of moisture on a timber subfloor should be obvious to the naked eye. Replace any damp boards or timbers. Don’t use a plastic damp-proof membrane over a timber subfloor. If a moisture barrier is required – for example at ground floor level – use bitumen-backed building paper and then an appropriate underlay (see Fig. 2). Failure to protect the flooring from moisture penetration from below may lead to board expansion and distortion.

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3Lay your
flooring

BEFORE YOU START

Leave the unopened packs of flooring lying horizontally on the floor in the room where they are to be laid for at least 48 hours so it can acclimatise to the room’s temperature. Do not stack near radiators or in direct sunlight. If you want to remove the skirting then do so before you begin laying your floor. The following steps are a good guide, but are not a substitute for following manufacturer’s instructions – please read these thoroughly before you start.

INSTALL THE UNDERLAY
(IF REQUIRED)

Fig. 2 and 3 show the options available. Fitting is dependant on the type you choose so follow manufacturer’s instructions.

The difference between Rapidfit and TwinClic flooring systems from Wickes.co.uk on Vimeo.

LAY YOUR FLOORING

1. Start to lay the planks

The last row of flooring you install must be at least 100mm wide, so if you need to adjust the first row to compensate then calculate that and trim the planks accordingly before you begin.

Planks should be laid lengthways, parallel to the longest side of the room and towards the main incoming source of light if possible. Use spacers to create a 10mm to 12mm expansion gap between the floor and the wall or skirting. Start the row by placing the plank with tongue facing the wall. Continue with the first row, using the tongue and groove to interlock planks, making sure the row is straight and parallel with the wall. If you are laying laminate flooring in a kitchen or bathroom you will need to apply wood adhesive to all end and side tongue and groove joints.

2. Finish the end of the row and start the next

You will probably need to cut the final plank in the row to fit. Turn it face down and lay it next to the previous plank, tongue to tongue, using spacers to maintain the expansion gap with the wall. Use a square to mark a line across it in line with the end of the previous plank (see Fig. 4). Cut and position it to complete the first row. You can use the off-cut to start the next row as long as it is at least 300mm long. If the off-cut is too short then start the next row with a plank cut in half. Continue to lay planks a row at a time, making sure that joints between planks in adjacent rows are staggered by a minimum of 300mm.

figure 4

3. Cut holes for radiator pipes

If you have radiator pipes in the room, cut a hole using a flat wood bit and then cut away the flooring to leave a keyhole shape (see Fig. 5). Fit the plank and then carefully use wood adhesive to glue the off-cut wedge back in place behind the pipe. Before drilling, check that your pipe surrounds are big enough to conceal the edges of the hole – a 32mm diameter will often work, but might be too large for some pipe surrounds, especially if the pipe does not end up central in the hole.

figure 5

4. Adjust door frames

Cut underneath the door frame with a handsaw, using an off-cut plank as a guide (see Fig. 6). Slide the flooring planks underneath. If with one end of a plank under the door frame you are unable to lift it to engage the tongue and groove, remove the tongue with a chisel (see Fig. 7), apply wood adhesive and slide into place. Make sure you maintain the expansion gap at the door threshold.

figure 6 figure 7

5. Lay the last row

To cut planks for the last row, lay a plank directly over the previous row. Place a third plank on top with the tongue against the spacer that meets the wall and use the edge of the plank to mark a line on the plank beneath (see Fig. 8). Cut the plank along the line, insert the plank and use a hammer and pull bar to make sure it is tightly in place.

figure 8

REMOVE SPACERS AND ADD TRIMS

When all the flooring is laid, remove the spacers. Do not infill the expansion gaps with cork or any other material unless specified by the product instructions. Fit matching threshold strips in doorways and scotia or skirting around the perimeter of the floor to cover the expansion gaps. Fix scotia using panel pins or wood adhesive, fixed horizontally to the skirting boards, not vertically to the flooring. The flooring must be free to slide under the scotia or skirting to accommodate expansion and contraction.

 

To avoid splitting the scotia, snip the head off one of the pins using pincers or pliers, insert the pin into the chuck of a power drill, and use it to pre-drill pilot holes.

FINAL TASKS

To allow doors to be opened once the flooring is installed, you’ll generally need to remove them and shave them down. You should also fit felt pads to the bottom of furniture to protect your new floor from scratches.

Categories
Online How to Listings

How to tile walls & floors and tools list

Kit
Tool List

  • Tile cutter
  • Tile saw
  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge
  • Notched adhesive trowel or adhesive spreader
  • Plastic tile spacers
  • Spirit level
Safety equipment

  • Face mask
  • Safety specs
  • Gloves
stay-safe.png
Wear gloves and goggles when cutting tiles. Always use an RCD device with power tools.

Tiling walls

Skill level required

Laying tiles is not difficult, as long as you measure and plan ahead. Cutting and nibbling corners off tiles takes some practice. The fixing of natural stone is slightly more specialised than fixing ceramic tiles. Most natural stone tiles will require sealing before grouting with often a another coat of sealing liquid being applied after grouting.

Preparation

Tiles can be bonded to virtually any dry, clean surface that’s in sound condition, strong enough to support their weight and properly prepared – this even includes old tiles.

1. Clean the walls
Remove all traces of dirt, grease and soapy deposits from a painted or previously tiled wall.

2. Repair damage
Ensure each wall is sound. Fix any areas of loose plaster.

3. Treat the wall surface
Remove any old wallpaper. If the walls were previously painted in a gloss finish, sand them down. Remove any peeling emulsion paint. Allow any new plaster to dry completely.

4. Prime surfaces
Absorbent surfaces such as new or bare plaster, timber, ply, or chipboard must be primed with a dilute PVA primer to prevent the moisture in the tile adhesive being absorbed too quickly by the wall, and to provide a much better key for the adhesive. Allow to dry thoroughly before you begin tiling.

Plasterboard or cement bonding boards, such as Wickes’ tile panel, should be fixed as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Marking out the wall

You’ll need timber battens in place before you start applying tiles to the wall.

1. Make a measuring gauge
Make a gauge from a length of timber. Lay some of your tiles on the floor with spacers in between and put the timber next to them. Mark each joint on the timber (see Fig. 1).

2. Mark out the wall
Measure and mark a point halfway up the wall above the highest floor or skirting board level as a starting point. With the measuring gauge positioned against this mark, mark downwards to show where each course of tiles will fall. If the space left at the bottom is less than half a tile high, adjust the starting point by half a tile, and use the measuring gauge to mark the rows again (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

3. Fix timber battens
Measure and mark a horizontal line across the wall at the level of the bottom of the lowest row of whole tiles. Use nails or screws to fix a straight length of timber to the wall along this line, using a spirit level to check the batten is horizontal. Don’t drive the nails fully home as they will be removed later (see Fig. 3).

Measure and mark the centre point of the horizontal batten and use the measuring gauge horizontally to mark the position of the last whole tile close to the end of the wall. Mark this point on the batten (see Fig. 4).

Use a spirit level to mark a vertical line up from the position of the last tile (see Fig. 5). Fix another straight batten vertically along this line. Loose lay a few tiles into the corner formed by the battens to check that they sit squarely.

Fig. 1
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Tiling

1. Arrange your tiles
Arrange your tiles carefully before installation to get the best effect from the different patterns and shades of the tiles, especially when laying natural stone. When installing ceramic or porcelain tiles, shuffle tiles from different boxes to make sure any repeating patterns are randomly placed.

2. Start tiling
Begin tiling in the corner. Spread the adhesive over the area of two or three tiles at a time. Comb the adhesive with the notched side of the spreader to create space for it to move once the tile is pressed onto it, otherwise the excess adhesive will squirt out around the edges of the tile and can be messy to remove (see Fig. 6).

Fig. 6

Do not spread more tile adhesive on the wall than you can use in a few minutes, as it will go hard, lose its adhesion, and have to be scraped off. As you get more experience, you can spread a larger area – up to one square metre.

Ensure each tile has adhesive over its whole surface. Do not use dots or dabs of adhesive only, as this can cause tiles to crack.

Place the tiles firmly on to the scored adhesive with spacers set in between. Working sideways and upwards, complete the fixing of all whole tiles then leave to dry for around 24 hours.

Tile spacers come in various sizes from 1mm up to 10mm. The larger sizes are generally used only for floor tiles. For wall tiles, the most commonly used spacers are 3mm and 4mm; 4mm makes it easier to push the grout fully into the joints – important for shower enclosures.

Apart from that, the choice is aesthetic – a wider joint will emphasise the colour of the grout and attractive visual effects can be achieved using plain white tiles with a 4mm or 5mm coloured grout. For darker tiles, a 1mm or 2mm white grout creates a different effect.

Once dry, remove the battens carefully then cut tiles to fit around the perimeter. Where space is limited the adhesive can be applied to the back of the cut tiles instead of on to the wall.

For shower enclosures, make sure there is a continuous layer of waterproof tile adhesive over the whole wall. If necessary, spread a thin coat of adhesive on the wall, and then extra adhesive on each tile.

 

3. Cut tiles
Mark the glazed surface where it is to be cut and use a Wickes’ Wall & Floor Tile Cutter to make straight cuts (see Fig. 7). Smooth off the cut edge with a file. Try to ‘bury’ cut edges at the top, bottom or sides of the wall, where any imperfections will be concealed by edge trims or sealant.

For more intricate cuts – such as around pipes or rounded bath edges – use a tile saw with a tungsten carbide blade.

Fig. 7

4. Apply grout
When all tiling is complete and has dried for around 24 hours, fill the spaces between them using grout and a grout float. Push grout deep into each joint with a squeegee or brick pointer, making sure the joint is filled. This is especially important for shower enclosures. Remove any excess grout as you go. When you’ve finished, wipe down tiles with a damp sponge.

Finishing off

Seal any joints between tiles and horizontal surfaces such as baths, basins, sinks, worktops etc with Wickes’ Silicone Sealant to prevent moisture penetration.

Tiles will all have slight variations in size, so the tile spacers will not necessarily fit or space the tiles evenly on the wall. Use a spirit level to check each horizontal course for level and each vertical row for plumb as the work proceeds and add or remove spacing material to adjust.

Tiling floors

Preparation

Just as for wall tiling, the surface needs to be sound, dry and even.

1. Make concrete ready
Ensure concrete floors are clean and dry. The floor does not have to be perfectly level because the floor tile adhesive can be applied as a thin bed or a thick bed, but it is preferable. Use Wickes’ Floor Levelling Compound if the concrete is very uneven or damaged. Lay an uncoupling membrane on the concrete to ensure that any movement or stresses in the concrete floor do not transmit through to the tiles and crack them. Use a flexible tile adhesive and flexible grout.

2. Tile over wooden floors
It’s possible to tile suspended wooden floors if they are sufficiently strong to carry the very considerable extra weight of tiles, they are 100% rigid, and the area below the floorboards is well ventilated. If the floor is weak and shows any sign of movement, you must strengthen it. Use a sheet material such as exterior grade plywood building up to a minimum 18mm thick covering and screw into place at no more than 200mm centres.

Bare wood or ply-covered floors should be primed with floor tile primer according to pack instructions before tiling commences.

3. Prepare other floors
Loose floor coverings such as vinyl sheeting should be completely removed, while old tiles must be thoroughly scrubbed clean and all traces of old polish removed.

It is essential that a suspended timber floor is made 100% rigid. Any movement will first cause the grout to break up, allowing moisture to enter, and subsequently tiles to break or lift. Use an uncoupling membrane on top of marine-grade plywood to help prevent cracking of the tiles. Use a flexible tile adhesive and flexible grout.

Marking out the floor

As with tiling a wall, you’ll need to use battens before you starting tiling.

1. Measure and mark the floor
Start in the corner of the room furthest from the door. Use a tape measure and a straight edge such as a spirit level to mark the centre line of the room from the door end to the far end. Find and mark the centre of this line.

2. Loose lay tiles
Loose lay tiles with spacers from the centre point along the line to the far wall. Fix a straight batten to the floor at 90° to the line of tiles where the edge of the last whole tile is (see Fig. 8).

Fig. 8

Loose lay further tiles towards the corner of the room and fix another batten at 90° to the first alongside the last whole tile (see Fig. 9). Check that the corner produced is exactly square, and that the positioning of neither line of tiles will result in narrow tiles having to be cut to fill in around the perimeter once the battening has been removed.

Tiling

1. Dry lay your tiles
Arrange your tiles carefully before installation to get the best effect from the different patterns and shades of the tiles, especially when laying natural stone. When installing ceramic or porcelain tiles, shuffle tiles from different boxes to make sure any repeating patterns are randomly placed.

2. Start tiling
Begin from the prepared corner, following the instructions on the adhesive. Use a Wickes’ Wall & Floor Tile Cutter to cut tiles to fit around the perimeter once all whole tiles are laid and the adhesive has set.

Fig. 9

An adhesive setting time is quoted for ideal conditions and is only a guide. Where temperatures are low, air is damp, ventilation is poor, the substrate is not fully dry (new concrete/screed takes about one week per 2.5cm (1″) of thickness to dry), the substrate is sealed/non porous, excessive adhesive or thick tiles are used, setting times will be increased, sometimes greatly.

3. Apply grout
When all tiling is complete and has dried for around 24 hours, fill the spaces between them using an appropriate grout. Remove any excess grout as you go.

When you’ve finished, wipe down tiles with a damp sponge. Wickes’ Grout Film Remover removes cement film and grout residues from ceramic and terracotta tiles, however it should not be used on natural stone such as marble or other acid-sensitive materials. For natural stone including pure marble, granite, travertine, and slate, remove cement grout film after initial installation using Wickes’ Natural Stone Grout Film Remover.

Finishing off

Protect porous materials, such as slate, or other natural stone, with Wickes’ Tile & Stone Stain Protector followed by Wickes’ Satin Tile Sealer for a sheen finish that resists dirt penetration and staining by liquids.

To protect and shine marble, limestone and other natural floor tiles use Wickes’ Natural Stone Gloss Finish to create a tough but removable finish and protection against staining, scratching and dulling caused by foot traffic. It also deepens the colour and texture and is effective against damage from acidic substances.

Tile care and maintenance

Always choose products specified for the tile material you have chosen.

Cleaning and aftercare

For all ceramic floor tiles, glazed and unglazed, terrazzo, marble, natural stone and slate, Wickes’ Floor Tile Clean & Shine can be used and is particularly recommended for regular cleaning of floors treated with Wickes’ Satin Tile Sealer. Clean and protect pure marble, granite, travertine and other calcareous natural stone, as well as manmade materials containing marble such as terrazzo and composition tiles, in all types of finish, including polished, honed, flamed, riven etc, with Wickes’ Natural Stone & Wash Shine. It is particularly recommended for floors that have been treated with Wickes’ Natural Stone Gloss Finish.

Renovation

To renovate stained tiles and remove old wax and polish from unglazed floor tiles, quarry tiles, natural slate and marble tiles, use Wickes’ Tile & Natural Stone Renovator. Follow with a fresh application of satin or gloss coating, as above.